Friday, August 23, 2013

Bathroom Talk

The first week of school was a wild roller coaster ride but we made it to Friday.  Capping off an amazing week I was at home reviewing my work email when this came through from one of the teacher at my school:

I entered the bathroom a few minutes ago and there were 2 girls chatting. 
This is what I heard:

“Oh my gosh!  I love all my classes!”
“No girl, I love all my classes more!”
“My favorite class is 3rd period.  I have the best teacher!”

So congratulations to those of you who’s students think you are great!!

August 19-23, 2013 The Library @ HHS

imageOn The Move at The Library @ HHSOn The Move at The Library @ HHSOn The Move at The Library @ HHSOn The Move at The Library @ HHSOn The Move at The Library @ HHS
On The Move at The Library @ HHSOn The Move at The Library @ HHS

This week at The Library @ HHS
August 19-23, 2013

This week has been an invigorating flurry of activity at The Library @HHS.

Students at Hoover High School started school this past Monday, August 19, 2013.  This year Hoover High School fully implemented the 1:1 iPad implementation. Every student grades 9-12 were issued an iPad if they opted into the program. The library was the hub for issuing these iPads to approximately 3000 students.  In addition to issuing the iPads to students, the Library Staff assisted students in setting up their iPads and connecting to our school wifi using Airwatch.  The Library Staff also fielded questions regarding iPads that were checked out over the summer by Juniors that had malfunctioned, had cracked screens, etc.  As you can imagine the Library Staff was quite busy this week!

Did everything work smoothly? Of course not!  LOL!  But we rolled with it, our students rolled with it, our teachers and administrators rolled with it and we all made it to Friday in one piece.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks this week was achieving the successful installation of the Airwatch feature so students could access our school wifi.  The large volume of students attempting to download caused downloads to freeze or drop which caused students to have to start the process all over again, sometimes 2, 3 4 or more times.  You can only imagine how frustrating this was! Luckily, our amazing HHS Tech Staff, Keith Fulmer and Jonathan Sandlin, wracked their brains for a solution and the situation improved day by day.  1:1 Coordinator and IT person, Alyssa Hare, checked in and helped us with broken and damaged iPads which helped tremendously. Late on Wednesday HCS "Tech to the Stars", Brian Phillips, came up with the ultimate solution that has made the process of installing Airwatch now work in a much smoother and efficient manner.  We certainly couldn't have made it through the week without them!

If you would like to learn more about the Hoover High School Engaged Learning Initiative click here.

I applaude our administrators who were willing to step on on a limb for the benefit of our students with this innovative, forward thinking program.  A big THANK YOU needs to go out to our amazing teachers who have jumped in feet first for being willing to support this initiative in their classrooms.  A big THANK YOU also needs to go out to our students and their parents for being so wonderfully patient with us this week as we all learn and grow together.

To learn more about what goes on at Hoover High School follow the hashtag #HHSiBucs on Twitter.  Dr. Holly Sutherland and Ms. Jennifer Hogan are constantly visiting classrooms and tweeting about the transformative lessons taught every day at Hoover High School.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Connecting and Collaborating with Google Hangouts

If everything goes according to plan and the technology Gods are in a good mood, I will be presenting four sessions on Google + Hangouts on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 for faculty and staff at Hoover High School.  I will also broadcast these sessions live below:

9:30 am CT:

10:15 am CT:

12:30 pm CT:

1:15 am CT:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Don't Let Your Mugshot Define You

Recently I spoke with a friend who feels trapped in his current position as an administrator because a mistake he made over ten years ago has been routed out by his tech savvy students and is now the first thing that shows up when his name is Googled.  My advice to him was, Don't let your mugshot define you.  

Who hasn't done something stupid during that treacherous age between 18-21?  This is the time for many of us we leave home and are on our own.  Mom and Dad aren't there to guide us any more and more than likely a group of 18-21 year old friends become our sounding board for what is "appropriate" behavior.  Group mentality kicks in due to the lack of reliable adult supervision leading many down a path that comes back to bite us once we have matured enough to think like our parents; not our drunken friends.  For me, my careless behavior made me a single teen mom on welfare.  For my friend, an arrest for drunk and disorderly conduct created the mugshot his students gleefully Google and throw in his face.

Own it.  You made a mistake or two when you were younger.  Trying to hid it never works and lamenting over it surfacing just keeps you a victim to your mistakes.  Instead, claim it and turn it to your advantage.  So you were an angry young man with a grudge against authority.  The drunken parties and friends egging on your anger and feelings of injustice didn't help either.  Are you still behaving the same way you behaved ten years ago?  Do you run with the same friends?  Are you making the same mistakes? No? Then you have a powerful, real life story to share with your students.  Own that mugshot! Admit to your students that you made mistakes, you are human after all.  Admit that you know "driving while black" is a sad reality that makes your blood boil and is a seething injustice, but driving while drunk is all on you.  Let them know behavior and reactions to situations set the tone for encounters whether with authority figures, parents or friends.  Remind students that youthful indiscretions and skewed societal views do not have to be the defining realities in your life.  Now a school administrator, a father and on the verge of finishing a doctorate degree YOU get to choose your path, even if there are bumps in the road.  

But what about those of us without glaring mistakes popping up on the Internet for all to see until the end of time?  If a parent or student Googled you what would they find?  If a potential employer wanted to know more about you beyond your resume what would they find?  If the most they can find is your name on your school website is that good enough?  

Audre Lorde,  Caribbean-American writer and civil rights activist, said "“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”   I have taken Ms. Lorde's words to heart and have worked diligently to define myself beyond single teen mom on welfare.  My journey of self definition started with this blog and lead to the development of my eportfolio.  I know that the prospect of putting yourself out there is scary to many educators, but if we don't define ourselves and share the amazing things we are doing in our schools, then the politicians will define us on their own terms.  Is that what you really want?  

Click HERE to access the Google Presentation for my 3 hour hands on ePortfolio session presented at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference June 2013.  Please contact me if you have questions or want some one on one assistance in getting your portfolio/blog started.